Monday, June 06, 2005

Make Tyrants History, as well

Tim's good-natured jesting at the Live8 concert's hypocrisy aside [what, no barbs yet at the made-in-China bracelet fiasco? -ed.] I have been surprised and delighted by the very real and significant press coverage that the Making Poverty History coalition has been able to garner as Scotland prepares to host the G8. Say one thing for the protests since Seattle - they have succeeded in drawing crucial attention to the impact of the deliberations occurring behind these closed doors, whether the summits focus on the detail of Free Trade Agreements or otherwise.

The emphatic support of Brown and Blair on Africa has been especially crucial on the subject, and Geldoff's Live8 project is just another tactic in mobilizing pressure on the politicians who have the power to make crucial decisions. How much coverage is any of this getting outside of Britain, I wonder?

Those wishing a primer on the state of the debate would do well to read this trilogy of articles from the Observer [what paper did you read last night? -ed.]:
first the proposals by Gordon Brown, followed by the concerns of Michela Wrong on the continuing problem of tyranical African leadership and Nick Cohen on the need to keep human rights concerns at the forefront. It's a long walk to freedom, but at least we're moving slowly movement in the right direction.


Blogger The Tiger said...

I'm with Wrong -- you won't make poverty history until you make tyrants history. (I guess that the exception that proves the rule would be Singapore.) And the looting, too.

I'm not sure I have her faith in the youngsters, though. I have a funny feeling that we will see the elite youths of our generation -- wonderful classmates and drinking buddies all -- settle right into their positions and apply Western-style expertise to extracting what they can from foreign aid and their own populace. I mean, just look at how Benazir Bhutto did in Pakistan after Harvard and Oxford.

I hope I'm proven wrong.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One has to ask oneself what exactly these people are trying to achieve by protesting at a meeting such as this one? It is hard to imagine that the hordes of people besieging each of these meetings with banners and rotten eggs do much in the way of facilitating a proper discussion...

The one-liners much favoured by the protesters such as 'make poverty history' or 'delete the debt' seems to leave some depth of thought and connection to reality to be desired.

If, instead of camping out and subsequently destroying the Scottish countryside, maybe these people could go home, do some reading and thinking, and channel their energy into creating some comprehensive and actually feasible proposals.....

4:08 PM  
Blogger Mike McNair said...

Saw an interview once with a World Bank VP who had once asked that very question. Why don't these people stop protesting and actually come up with some solutions!? But then the VP explained that they had changed their mind. It's not the job of the protestors to come up with solutions to poverty or 3rd world debt. That's what the World Bank is for and not everyone can work there. So in the meantime the protestors serve a valid function by explaning that no, everything is not okay - and then she as a World Bank VP can examine the issue that was publicly raised by the protestors.

In this case, millions of people are saying that Africa is a priority for them. They help ensure that Africa is at the top of the G8 agenda. Even if the protestors don't agree with the actions that the G8 leaders end up taking, the leaders will have to respond in SOME way - and that is progress.

PEACEFUL protest, can be a beautiful thing.

6:20 PM  

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